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Arab states to form joint military force to combat Jihadists, Iran’s influence in region

Middle EastArab states to form joint military force to combat Jihadists, Iran’s influence in region

Published 30 March 2015

The leaders of the Arab League announced yesterday (Sunday) that they were forming a joint military force to fight fundamentalist Sunni Jihadist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda. It was also clear that the joint force would tackle pro-Iranian Shi’a groups which are helping Iran to expand its regional influence. Arab allies of the United States see the proposed nuclear accord with Iran as a betrayal of U.S. commitment to their security. Egyptian security officials have said the proposed force announced on Sunday would be made of up to 40,000 elite troops based in either Cairo or Riyadh. It would be backed by fighter jets, warships, and light armor.

The leaders of the Arab League announced yesterday (Sunday) that they were forming a joint military force to fight fundamentalist Sunni Jihadists groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda. It was also clear, however, that the joint force would tackle pro-Iranian Shi’a groups which are helping Iran expand its regional influence.

The announcement was made by Egyptian president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, on the final day of the Arab League summit.

“The Arab leaders have decided to agree on the principle of a joint Arab military force,” Sisi said.

“The challenges facing our national Arab security are grave, and we have succeeded in diagnosing the reasons behind it,” Sisi said, without specifying those reasons. The meeting, he added, was “pumping the blood of hope in the arteries of Arab cooperation.”

Nabil al-Arabi, the secretary general of the Arab League, said the decision was made primarily with the need to combat Jihadists who now control large parts of Iraq and Syria, and who now have a presence in North Africa.

Arabi told the meeting on Sunday that the Middle East was under attack by a destructive force which threatened “ethnic and religious diversity.”

The New York Times reports that the summit also agreed to support Saudi-led military action in Yemen, and Arabi told journalists that the Saudi air strikes would continue until Iran-supported Shi’a Houthi rebels “withdraw and surrender their weapons.”

Arabi read a final summit communique outlining the leaders’ views. “Yemen was on the brink of the abyss, requiring effective Arab and international moves after all means of reaching a peaceful resolution have been exhausted to end the Houthi coup and restore legitimacy,” he said.

Saudi brigadier general Ahmed bin Hasan Asiri said that the Saudi sustained air strikes, which began last Thursday, have pushed Houthi insurgents out of contested airbases and destroyed any fighter jets remaining in Yemen. The Saudis destroyed the Yemeni Air Force’s planes on the ground and in their hangars to prevent the Houthis from seizing them.

The strikes also continued to target the Yemeni military’s Scud missiles, destroying most of their launching pads. Asiri said, however, that the rebels may control more missiles.

Egyptian security officials have said the proposed force announced on Sunday would be made of up to 40,000 elite troops based in either Cairo or Riyadh. It would be backed by fighter jets, warships, and light armor.

The Times notes that it is unlikely that all 22-member countries of the often-fractious Arab League will contribute troops to the proposed force. The creation of such a force has been a longtime goal of the Arab League, but it has eluded the organization in the sixty-five years since its members signed a joint defense agreement.

The idea of a joint military force “has been there before but not so seriously,” Gamal Abdel Gawad Soltan, a political scientist at the American University in Cairo, told the Times. He noted that Arab joint defense treaties date to 1950 and a joint military command was previously formed for a time in the mid-1960s. That was during the era of Pan-Arab nationalism, when Arab governments joined forces against Israel. That vision ended in the Arab-Israeli War of 1967, with the humiliating defeat of the Arab armies.

“It is the renewal of an old idea,” Soltan said, “but this time the level of seriousness looks higher, even if we do not know yet whether the outcome this time will be different than in the past.”

The announcement declares that the purpose of the Arab joint force is to fight the Jihadists, but analysts note that there is little doubt that the growing influence of Iran in the region, and the need to check it, were also behind to idea of the moderate Sunni states creating a joint military force. Saudi Arabia and other American allies in the region have made it clear that in light of what they perceive as growing coordination between the United States and Iran, they would be seeking to strengthen independent regional security measures. Arab allies of the United States see the proposed nuclear accord with Iran as a betrayal of U.S. commitment to their security.

They note, as Israel has, that irrespective of Iran’s nuclear program, the nuclear agreement would do nothing to stop Iran from continuing, even more energetically, to seek the expansion of its influence around the region by actively supporting local favored factions, as it has done in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen.

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UN condemns kidnaping of DR Congo refugees, urges their immediate release

27 March 2015 – The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) has today strongly condemned the recent kidnapping of Congolese refugees by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), calling for an immediate release of those still in captivity.

On 21 March, 15 Congolese refugees and one Congolese national were kidnapped by the LRA near the border between the Central African Republic (CAR) and the DCR. They were abducted from the DRC side of the border, where they had been tending to their fields.

According to UNHCR, 13of them, 2 women and 11 men, were released two days later and trekked back to the refugee camp near Zemio in the southeast of CAR. Some of the victims arrived with open wounds, and a 16-year old girl had been raped. Three refugee boys are still missing.

At a Geneva press briefing this afternoon, UNHCR’s Karin de Gruijl said that upon their arrival, the released refugees were immediately transferred to the health centre in Zemio where they received the necessary medical care. They were still in shock and anxious to learn about the missing refugees, she said.

UNHCR and its partners are providing psychosocial counselling to help them cope with this traumatic event. The UN agency also plans to step up awareness raising efforts to provide refugees with up-to-date information about the security situation, LRA activities in the region and the risks associated with moving between the camp in the CAR and their fields in the DRC.

LRA rebels have intensified their attacks on villages at the CAR-DRC border since the arrest in the CAR of Dominic Ongwen, an LRA top commander accused of crimes against humanity in the beginning of 2015.

The Lord’s Resistance Army sprung up in Uganda in 1986, established its first base in Sudan in 1993, and spread to the DRC in 2005, before moving further north into the CAR in 2009. Chased by the Ugandan armed forces, the remaining LRA rebels have pulled back in the forests in south-eastern CAR. They continue to wreak havoc and spread terror in the area.

According to UNHCR, more than 180,000 people remain internally displaced in LRA-affected areas in the CAR and the DRC, while LRA violence has caused more than 30,000 people to flee to the different neighbouring countries.

To meet those needs, UNHCR and partners are providing assistance to refugees. To date, some 640 refugees had registered to take part in the voluntary return programme that would be facilitated by the UN agency. The return programme is expected to start in the coming weeks, once the rehabilitation and extension of the airstrips in Zemio and Ango airstrips have been completed.

However, Ms. de Gruijl said the security situation tense there. There is not enough police to provide enforcement for the time being. Over the previous year, it had been a challenge to provide food to some parts of the CAR; consequently, people from camps are looking for ways to supplement both their nutrition and incomes. There are no also UN peacekeepers in that part of the CAR.

Zemio refugee camp hosts some 3,400 Congolese refugees from the Ango Territory, in Province Orientale in the north-eastern part of the DRC. Those Congolese fled LRA atrocities in the Province Orientale and found refuge in the CAR in 2009.

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Yemen at War: Lifesaving aid blocked by airstrikes

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Millions in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, rely on aid organisations

BEIRUT, 27 March 2015 (IRIN) – The Saudi Arabian-led assault on Yemen has disrupted life-saving aid programs across the country, international aid agencies have said.

The provision of humanitarian aid to many Yemeni regions was already difficult as the country has slid closer to civil war following the takeover of the capital Sana’a in September by northern Houthi rebels. But on Thursday morning, a Saudi-led alliance of eight countries began bombing key Houthi targets in Sana’a and other cities.

Since then the United Nations and other aid agencies have been forced to suspend many key programs. International NGOs and the UN are seeking to evacuate their international staff, with several hundred still in the country. All commercial flights out of the country have been suspended since the Saudi attacks began.

Trond Jensen, head of the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Yemen, said he was “extremely concerned” that vital aid was being suspended across the country. “In a conflict our ability to stay and deliver is badly affected,” he said.

Yemen, which has a population of just under 26 million, is the Arab world’s poorest country. Almost two-thirds of the population was already in need of aid before the crisis, while over 10 million are food insecure.

The Houthi takeover had already led to the suspension of key financial support to the country, while millions of dollars of development aid was suspended

Jensen said that the country’s dire economic situation was likely to be made worse by the suspension of key humanitarian aid. “Vulnerable people will be pushed over the edge,” Jensen added, agreeing that the country was in a perfect storm of crises.

He said, however, that the UN would seek to continue to deliver some humanitarian aid remotely. 

 

“We already had a network of local partners that UN agencies are operating through. We will continue to work through [them].”

Haajir Maalim, country director at Action Against Hunger, said they had suspended all operations in the northern regions of Hajjah and Al-Hudaydah and Abyan and Lahj in the south over security concerns. He added that they were seeking to maintain some services to ensure thousands of vulnerable people were not cut off from support.

“I think it is very worrying especially if the conflict carries on for a long time,” he said. “Yemenis are very resilient and life continues in Sana’a and other cities… but this can only continue for a short time.” 

“If the conflict continues the local capacity to withstand is limited.”

He added that they, too, were seeking to evacuate their international staff, while those that remain in country would be more restricted in their movement.

“One of the key risks we face is when we are moving,” he said, adding that both airstrikes and checkpoints pose a risk. “Movement to the beneficiaries will be limited.”


Maalim said he was wary that aid workers could also become targets for criminal gangs as the conflict continues.

“So far we have not seen [aid workers being] targeted, but as populations become desperate we do understand that aid agencies are seen as having resources.”

As fighting intensifies, there is little indication that any side is focusing on the humanitarian suffering in the country.  

The leader of the Iranian-backed Houthis has resorted to increasingly fiery rhetoric in the face of the attack, while the internationally recognised President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi called for the Saudi strikes, which have led to the killing of civilians.

A report released on Friday by the International Crisis Group think-tank warned that all sides were currently unwilling to search for a negotiated settlement and on Friday night, eyewitnesses in Sana’a said there were fresh airstrikes in the city.

“We are concerned that whatever resources are left in the country shall we diverted to conflict,” Jensen added.

jd/tl

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'Civilians killed' as Saudi Arabia bombs Yemen

By Almigdad Mojalli

Yemenis in the Bani Hewat area near the capital Sana’a search for survivors after Saudi Arabia bombed the city

SANA’A, 26 March 2015 (IRIN) –

Saudi Arabia and its allies may be hitting neighbourhoods targets in their bombing campaign in Yemen, residents and rights groups have warned.

Dozens of Saudi jets began bombing the capital, Sana’a, early Thursday morning, with the aim of crushing the Houthi rebel movement that claimed control of the city in September.

A number of military targets were hit, but the crowded, low-income suburb of Bani Hewat near Sana’a International Airport was also badly damaged.

Yaser Al-Habashi, 53, a seller of Qat (a stimulant many Yemenis chew), returned home to his six children on Wednesday night. After going to bed, two huge explosions ripped through the house, destroying it and killing his entire family.

“By Allah, what has happened to my family and neighbours? Have they all been killed? Is there still anyone alive?” pleaded Al-Habashi, as he was carried out of the rubble to the Al-Thawrah public hospital.

Yaser Al-Habashi lost his six children in the bombing

Neighbours described how two initial strikes had hit the airport but two later ones had hit the residential area.

Ahmed Jawhar, 48, said he awoke after the first bomb to find his wall partially destroyed. He ran outside and saw a child crying in his neighbour’s house.

“I was trying to save my neighbour’s four-year-old child, but the second one [hit their] house and the child disappeared,” Jawhar said. The family of eight were all allegedly killed.

Amnesty International said at least 25 people had been killed in the bombings, six or more under the age of 10, but many more people may be buried under the rubble.

The organization spoke to medical personnel at four different hospitals and concluded that 14 houses were hit during the bombing.

“This high toll of civilian deaths and injuries raises concerns about compliance with the rules of international humanitarian law. Saudi Arabian and any other armed forces carrying out airstrikes in Yemen are required to take all feasible precautions to spare civilians,” said Said Boumedouha, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

“This includes verifying that targets are in fact military and giving civilians effective advance warnings unless circumstances do not permit.”

Residents start to clear the rubble

The rights’ group confirmed that they will monitor future violations to see whether civilian infrastructure is being targeted.

Local government official Hamoud Al-Naqeeb condemned the impact of the airstrikes on civilians. He called on the state to treat the wounded and compensate the families of the dead.

Yet residents complained that they had been left to search through the rubble with little help from the authorities.

“The state’s emergency and civil defense forces came in the morning, took the casualties on the ground and left without trying to lift the rubble and save more lives,” resident Mu’amar Sarhan said. “Instead the relatives and some of the inhabitants are trying desperately to find more victims.”

Throughout Thursday, hundreds of families were leaving the area amid warnings of more bombings that evening.

“We are leaving our house to [go to] our [home] town in Al-Taweelah, [in the western] Al-Mahwit governorate, after we heard warnings on some of the Gulf satellite TV channels, which told us [we had] until 9pm to leave,” said Mohammed Ali Dhaiban.

Hopes for a quick end to the violence were quashed on Thursday night when the leader of the Iranian-backed Houthis, Abdulmalik al-Houthi, declared the country would be the “graveyard of invaders”. Both Saudi Arabia and Egypt have said they are prepared to launch a ground invasion if necessary.

Amnesty also called on the Houthis and Yemeni armed forces to protect civilians as the country slides towards full-blown war.

Saudi Arabia’s alliance includes other Gulf states, Turkey, Sudan and Pakistan. They have demanded the Houthis step down and President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi be reinstated. Hadi himself is believed to have fled to the Saudi capital Riyadh.

All flights from Sana’a, Hodeida and Sa’ada airports were cancelled after Thursday’s airstrikes. Yet as night fell, the sound of fresh bombs again engulfed the city.

 

Related article: As Yemen crumbles, civilians brace for the worst

am/jd

 

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Exposing the deadly menace in Kyrgyzstan’s fields

In Kyrgyzstan’s scenic grazing pastures lies a threat with the potential to maim and even kill people who live off this fertile land. Most of the victims are curious or unsuspecting children tending cattle or playing in the area. They touch, pick up or disturb what they think is old and rusty pieces of metal. In fact, this is unexploded ordnance (UXO) – abandoned explosive devices that continue to blight the lives of many, long after the battles have stopped raging.

The list of victims makes for sombre reading. According to local media reports, as recently as 17 April 2014 an explosion killed two children and injured four more in Zardaly in Batken province. A dozen more have been killed in the preceding decade. All of these deaths and injuries could have been prevented had the local residents been aware of the lethal danger posed by UXO.

A deadly legacy

The munitions were laid in the aftermath of the so-called Batken incidents of 1999-2000, when Kyrgyzstan’s authorities battled to counter incursions by terrorist fighters in the south-west of the country. Air attacks were launched on suspected terrorist bases within Kyrgyzstan, and mines were laid along the border.

Years after the operation, the munitions have left a deadly legacy.

In October 2014 the Batken team from the OSCE Community Security Initiative (CSI) Project in Kyrgyzstan, together with the local police and military engineers of the Ministry of Defence launched a campaign to raise awareness among local schoolchildren about the dangers of explosive ordnance.  

Recognizing the danger

The CSI funded the production of leaflets featuring illustrations of UXO to be distributed among children and village residents to help them recognize this elusive menace. Here are some top tips:

  • NEVER approach or touch any real or suspected munition you come across – unexploded ordnance can kill!
  • If you find unexploded ordnance, call the police immediately and tell them what you have found!
  • Tell your parents and friends and create a safety cordon!
  • Wait for the police and disposal experts to arrive, show them where the device is and describe what you have seen.
  • Never let your cattle graze on land where unexploded ordnance has been found until the disposal teams have told you it is safe.

“Deaths and injuries resulting from UXO are avoidable if communities are properly educated about the dangers,” says Ambassador Sergey Kapinos, the Head of the OSCE Centre in Bishkek, under which the CSI operates.

UXO alert

CSI in co-operation with local police organized a short course for sixty schoolchildren in the village of Bojoy on what to do if they came across unexploded devices and how important it is to notify the police.

One of the children told the trainers that he had seen an object similar to one illustrated in the leaflet while tending to grazing cattle near the village earlier that year.

The CSI team and the course instructors, accompanied by two schoolchildren headed to the pasture. Soon they found two objects, which were identified by military engineers as live 125mm shells. They were located just a few metres away from several local cattle farms. The police officers immediately cordoned off the area and marked the location for a bomb-disposal team.

Later that day, bomb-disposal experts from the Ministry of Defence arrived to defuse the shells with specialized equipment, rendering them harmless and preventing further tragedies.

Bojoy is now much safer for children, adults and cattle. But the safety and security is also felt within the community.

“Young people are especially vulnerable and the CSI campaign to educate students about UXO has already shown itself to be successful in not only safeguarding children, but in developing trust in the ability of the police to act quickly and effectively to remove the danger,” says Kapinos.

Efficient responses by the police to the threat of UXO has seen them gain the trust and confidence of the people – a key aim of the CSI, which seeks to reduce security problems in a region which has seen its fair share of tensions.

By making the fields in which the communities live and work safer, the police are showing they genuinely care for the communities they are there to protect. 

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Saudi Arabia Launches Airstrikes in Yemen

With most of the country’s major cities under rebel control and the president reportedly having fled the country by boat, Riyadh is mounting an intervention against the Iranian backed Houthi rebels. “Saudi Arabia announced on Wednesday it had launched military operations in Yemen, carrying out air strikes in coordination with a 10-country coalition seeking to beat back Houthi militia forces besieging the southern city of Aden where the country’s president had taken refuge. At a news conference in Washington, Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir said Gulf Arab allies and others had joined with the desert kingdom in the military campaign in a bid “to protect and defend the legitimate government” of Yemen President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. He declined to give any information on Hadi’s whereabouts.” (Reuters http://reut.rs/18YHikY)

Malawi/Global Fund Fracas…There was a report, erroneous it turns out, that the Global Fund cut $574 million to Malawi. That’s not exactly what happened. Here’s the statement from The Global Fund. “In early 2015, following concerns about financial management at the National AIDS Council, the Malawi Country Coordinating Mechanism, a panel representing a range of stakeholders including the Ministry of Health, decided to channel US$574 million in funding to be implemented through different partners. Future funding will go through the Ministry of Health and ActionAid, a non-governmental organization. The National AIDS Council will no longer be a Principal Recipient of Global Fund grants. (Global Fund “bit.ly/1CYUJz4)

Vanuatu is Still Being Ignored…Less than two weeks after Cyclone Pam tore through the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, 110,000 people have no safe drinking water and some 75,000 urgently need shelter, the United Nations said on Tuesday as it launched an appeal for $29.9 million. (TRF http://yhoo.it/1FV98LI)

Nigeria Elections

Your 15 minute Nigeria elections explainer: Mark interviews the Nigerian American journalist Dayo Olopade who offers a sophisticated take on elections in Africa’s biggest democracy. (Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/18YGtZr)

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the closure of the country’s land and sea borders before this weekend’s general election, the interior ministry said on Wednesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HFACXB)

As Nigerians prepare for Saturday’s presidential election, the integrity of the vote will hang in large part on the success of a new voter card system that includes thousands of hand-held electronic card readers. (VOA http://bit.ly/1CYujgW)

Africa

A Liberian woman who last week became the country’s first Ebola patient in more than one month has not passed on the infection to anyone else, a senior official said Wednesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HFABTv)

A court in Chad on Wednesday found 20 current and former security agents who served under ousted ruler Hissene Habre guilty of atrocities committed during his rule in the 1980s, including war crimes and torture. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1BnhVRq)

A row over a law banning homosexuality in Uganda has been reignited after it emerged that the government paid a US public relations firm to offset negative publicity, a report said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1BM9rlP)

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, fresh from being extended in office for another three years, said on Wednesday the threat of international sanctions would not keep him from retaliating against his rival. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1BnhQgu)

Government workers in Togo went on strike for the second consecutive day over pay, a union official said, raising pressure on the government a month ahead of an election. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1HFAjMH)

Politicians, activists and conservation experts meeting in Botswana on Wednesday vowed to fight the booming illegal wildlife trade that is decimating populations of elephants, rhinos and other threatened species. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Bnibjt)

Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara appointed a Catholic archbishop on Tuesday to head the West African nation’s flagging post-war reconciliation efforts ahead of elections later this year, a senior official with the presidency said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1BM9oqa)

Some 10.5 million children in Nigeria are out of school — the largest number in the world, according to the UN. Many children in the Muslim-majority north have little choice, with schools closed or destroyed by six years of fighting between Boko Haram and the military. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1BM9sWY)

Two former child brides have taken Zimbabwe’s government to court in a ground-breaking bid to get child marriages declared illegal and unconstitutional. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1FV93aT)

Two years after Séléka rebels ousted the president of the Central African Republic and plunged the country into chaos, farmers urgently need seeds and tools to plant crops and avert food shortages. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1y7akVE)

The EU has restored political ties to Guinea-Bissau nearly five years after a military coup threw the country into chaos and soured relations with the international community. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1y7afRV)

MENA

Activists speaking up against abuses in war-torn Libya face reprisals from all sides in the chaotic conflict, and are increasingly being threatened, attacked, abducted and killed, the UN warned in a report Wednesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HFAJ5u)

Sweden is seeking to quell an unprecedented diplomatic spat over human rights with Saudi Arabia which has seen ambassadors recalled and arms sales cancelled, drawing comparisons with Denmark’s Mohammed cartoons controversy. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1BM9pKy)

A new U.N. report said the delivery of aid to millions inside Syria is becoming even more difficult as the Islamic State group closes down humanitarian efforts and Syria’s government puts more obstacles in the way. (VOA http://bit.ly/1y7a498)

Asia

Authorities in Myanmar have filed criminal charges against 69 student activists and their supporters who were arrested two weeks ago when police cracked down on peaceful protests against a new education law. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Bni9Ij)

US President Barack Obama’s decision to slow the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan will hamper peace efforts, the Taliban said Wednesday, vowing to continue fighting. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HFAVBV 

Sri Lanka has started releasing private land occupied by the military during the country’s 26-year civil war, in a major step at reconciliation with minority ethnic Tamils. (AP http://yhoo.it/1BniiLD)

Hong Kong’s leader said on Wednesday the city was prepared for a fresh flareup of pro-democracy street protests, while issuing a call to arms against opposition democratic lawmakers who have disrupted government policy-making in the legislature. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1FV8VI8)

Online freedom advocates in India are hailing a court ruling that struck down a controversial law seen as infringing free speech on the Internet. But in a country expected to have the world’s largest number of web users by 2018, some concerns about net censorship remain. (VOA http://bit.ly/1y7a3lA)

China

China says its proposed Asian bank might have regional offices in other countries in a new move to mollify concern it will be a Chinese political tool. (AP http://yhoo.it/1FV8SMA)

China on Wednesday rejected growing international calls for the release of five women’s rights activists and accused critics of violating the country’s judicial sovereignty by appealing for the women’s freedom. (AP http://yhoo.it/1FV8T3f)

Leaders of Beijing’s bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics said Wednesday the capital’s notorious air pollution will be much improved by the time of the games. (AP http://yhoo.it/1HFAQ0Q)

The Americas

Seven people were killed and more were feared dead in Peru after a massive landslide buried parts of a town amid heavy rains, authorities said on Tuesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1BM9w9d)

Strong winds and unusually hot weather in southern Chile are fueling out-of-control forest fires, which are consuming large swaths of national parks and ancient woodland parched by a prolonged drought. (VOA http://bit.ly/1CYumJw)

The European Union and Cuba will intensify negotiations aimed at normalising ties, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says. (BBC http://bbc.in/1y7a8FZ)

…and the rest

A group of large companies, mainly in the food sector, have promised to reduce their role in the destruction of the world’s forests, and a new online portal launched on Wednesday aims to hold them to their word. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1HFApDK)

The Coca-Cola Co has made a good start in axing land grabs from its supply chain, but it must work harder in proving that its bottlers and sugar suppliers do not violate land rights, development experts told the company. (TRF http://yhoo.it/1BM9lL1)

Health watchdogs should regulate online sales of breast milk, so prone to contamination that babies may be placed at risk, the BMJ medical journal said in an editorial on Wednesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1BM9iPk)

Opinion/Blogs

This week I may be jailed for writing a book on human rights abuses (Guardian http://bit.ly/1LZE5U7)

Death by fire in India a big risk for women (Humanosphere http://bit.ly/1E0HFsN)

Global Citizenship Essential for Gender Equality: Ambassador Chowdhury  (IPS http://bit.ly/1HFIVCM)

A Top Weedkiller Could Cause Cancer. Should We Be Scared? (NPR http://n.pr/1BnorHQ)

Does the wage bill affect conflict? Evidence from Palestine (ODI http://bit.ly/1HFK4dG)

Innovation in Somalia: Launch of E-Transfer Cards in Bossaso (WFP http://bit.ly/1y79kAY)

How Did Ebola Volunteers Know Where To Go In Liberia? Crowdsourcing! (Goats and Soda http://n.pr/1y79lF3)

Maximising effectiveness of GAVI aid: when less can mean more (Devpolicy Blog http://bit.ly/19Rer2U)

Four trade priorities for the global development agenda in 2015 (ODI http://bit.ly/1GWeBAk)

Is Going Local the Answer?  OxFam America’s New Report: “To Fight Corruption, Localize Aid” (GAB http://bit.ly/19ReNGK)

Ambitious goals for sustainable development (virtual economics http://bit.ly/1GWeOn2

Making development work for humanitarian response (WhyDev http://bit.ly/1GWfglj)

Discussion

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